>Someone built a safe, sturdy building that rises up high into
>the sky scant weeks after breaking ground.
Maybe it's safe. The guy says it's safe, but then he's selling them, and this is a country where they still routinely paint children's toys with lead paint and put melamine in pet food.
>This is brilliant for
>disaster relief and while we had a failed experiment with brutalist
>architecture in the Sixties, I think you can turn this idea into
>fleets of temporary accommodation as an alternative to places like the
>camps at Sangatte.
Yeah, see, my main concern is that "temporary" things that are horrible often have a habit of ceasing to be temporary, and while one Walled City of Kowloon was kind of a nifty world-feature that it's too bad it's gone, I can easily see this thing mushrooming into hideous, never-dismantled shantytown arcologies, like some kind of Gibsonian vision of a future gone wrong.
>And by the way, I happen to think that with a more
>ecologically harmonious approach - climbing plants, say, or those new
>vertical garden things - it could be made to look rather pleasant.
>Almost like a skyscraper designed by hobbits.
Leaving aside for a moment how unspeakably twee a skyscraper designed by hobbits would be, when was the last time you saw any evidence at all of anyone in the Pacific Rim economic boom zone indulging in ecologically harmonious anything? :)
>I just don't particularly like it when people decide that everything
>that happened in a medium after the year Dot has no value and must be
Well, I don't really cotton to it when I say something about one thing and someone goes running off with the assumption that I was talking about everything, either, so I guess we're even. :)
Just for the record, although I am of the old school that thinks government buildings and banks should still look like the Pantheon in Rome, Arts-and-Crafts bungalows are nice, and red-brick Federal is just fine for public schools, I do rather like certain so-called-modern architectural styles - 20th Century Modern housing, for instance. Also various applications of the now-much-maligned '60s "metabolist" concept. Habitat '67 in Montreal, for instance, and the sadly moribund Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo. No one can ever actually accuse either of those structures of being attractive, I don't think, but they're interesting, and they aren't an active affront to their surroundings like the Pompidou or Empire State Plaza. Nakagin, in particular, wasn't actually very well-made, which is why most of it no longer works, and that's a shame, but the concept is intriguing and it could have been made to work.
It's a big world, there's room for a lot of screwing around with the way buildings go up and how they look. However, what Zhang is doing looks to me basically like encouraging the world to do its future urban construction in the "enormous heaps of discarded CONEXes" idiom, and, well, no, I'm not down with that - and I have extreme reservations from an engineering standpoint about his blithe claims of the safety of his product. I genuinely do not believe that a very large building can be put up that quickly without massive fuckaroundery that's eventually going to get a lot of people killed. "Good, fast, and cheap, pick two" is a cliché because it's true.
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.